Melissa Harteloo, development, has a curated show of her photographs, titled “Beyond Paint on a Wall,” displayed at the St. Johns Starbucks from now until July 18. “I’ve recently spent time educating myself about the art and culture of hip hop and exploring all four elements—MC, DJ, B-boy, and, most recently, graffiti artist,” she explains in her artist’s statement. “Graffiti is more than just paint on a wall—it is communication between artists, a language, a story, a legacy—with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire. It is the way these artists have chosen to convey their feelings about underlying social and political messages. It challenges us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and see the world from another perspective. I really want people to understand that there is more to graffiti than kids vandalizing buildings.”
While insisting her pursuit of photography is just a hobby, Harteloo’s artistic talent and dedication are evident when you see her work and take into account her adherence to traditional photographic methods—namely, the use of film rather than digital photography. “I feel pretty strongly that digital photography is actually graphic design, because so much of the ‘art’ is done after the photograph has actually been captured,” she says. Harteloo, a 2006 organizational communication graduate of UP, took her first photography class during her freshman year and spent many hours in the Buckley Center darkroom under the tutelage of performing and fine arts photography instructor Pat Bognar. “She’s great and I tell everyone to take her classes,” says Melissa. “In fact, I took as many of Pat’s photo classes I could.”
Faculty, staff, and Melissa’s many colleagues and friends have until July 18 to see her show. The Starbucks is located at 8539 N. Lombard Street in the heart of downtown St. Johns.